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Lewis Hayden and the War Against Slavery cover
  • ISBN: 9780208024305
  • ISBN10: 0208024301

Lewis Hayden and the War Against Slavery

by Joel Strangis

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Linnet Books
  • Publish date: 02/01/1999
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Description
Born a slave in Kentucky, Lewis Hayden escaped to freedom with his wife and son in 1844, to became a leader in the fight to end slavery in the United States. Hayden's fight took him through every phase of the antislavery movement. He was a passenger on the Underground Railroad; a fugitive in Canada; a traveling agent, speaking on behalf of the Anti-Slavery Society; a "stationmaster" hiding fugitives in his home; and a leader in the daring and sometimes violent attempts to rescue fugitive slaves captured by federal marshals. Hayden's at-the-core involvement has not been fully documented until this biography.

Unlike William Lloyd Garrison and other proponents of "moral suasion", Hayden, with his activist friends Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Theodore Parker, and others, believed in direct intervention in the processes of slavery. He did not write down his exploits. They were, after all, clandestine and illegal. But Strangis's careful research shows him always on the scene: Fugitive slaves William and Ellen Craft were married in his parlor; Harriet Beecher Stowe visited escapees in his Boston home and recorded Hayden's memories of slave life in The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin; Hayden was instrumental in attempts to rescue the three fugitives Shadrach, Thomas Sims, and Anthony Burns; and he passed a destitute John Brown $600 only five days before Harper's Ferry.

After the war, Hayden was one of the first African Americans elected to the Massachusetts legislature. Upon his death in 1889, Frederick Douglass eulogized Hayden as a "brave and wise counselor in the cause of our people, a moral hero...". Young readers will find his story one of omnipresent commitment and danger, emblematic of theblack abolitionist activism that flourished in those dangerous years.

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